Saracens sealed top spot in Champions Cup Pool Three by beating Glasgow Warriors 38-19 in an entertaining clash at Allianz Park.

The English side led 24-19 at half-time after 40 minutes of rugby filled with twists and turns. In a quieter second-half, they eventually wore Dave Rennie’s spirited Scottish outfit down by attrition to clinch a bonus-point win and a home quarter-final.

Saracens started off on the front foot and led 10-0 inside eight minutes, with all their early points having come through Ben Spencer.

The scrum-half first nailed a penalty kick — awarded due to a Chris Fusaro high tackle — then scored and converted the first try of the game after being set up by David Strettle’s inside pass.

The hosts looked in cruise control until the 11th minute, when Tommy Seymour pulled a try back in Glasgow’s right corner. Sam Johnson’s floated pass out to Stuart Hogg allowed the full-back to feed the winger, setting him up to go over unchallenged.

The Warriors smelled blood and momentum shifted. Spencer’s box-kick was charged down by Rob Harley, allowing Ali Price to collect the ball. The scrum-half, a persistent thorn in Sarries’ side, burst through the defence to score in the 14th minute.

Although Saracens were not always at their best throughout the game, one area in which they remained as menacing as ever was their line-out. In the 18th minute, this led to a Vincent Koch try off a driving maul.

However, the Warriors fought on and regained the lead in the 21st minute, when Ryan Wilson crashed through Schalk Burger and Liam Williams to score.

George Kruis was denied a magnificent solo try just before the half-hour mark when Adam Hastings dislodged the ball from his grasp just as he was crossing the try-line. However, from the ensuing five-metre scrum, Billy Vunipola powered over for the last try of the first half.

Saracens frustrated Glasgow early on in the second-half, particularly at the breakdown. The visitors refused to throw in the towel, however, and the score remained unchanged heading into the final quarter.

Alex Lozowski had an opportunity to extend Sarries’ lead beyond a converted try shortly after the hour-mark, but his long-range shot at posts failed to hit the target.

In the 70th minute, the hosts finally wrapped up the bonus point. A magnificent series of passes culminated in Will Skelton offloading to Man of the Match Maro Itoje, who added a try to an already exceptional performance and all but sealed top spot in the pool.

Skelton then added the cherry on top in the final play of the game, powering through several bodies for the hosts’ fifth and final try.

Nevertheless, Glasgow live to fight another day, as their place in the quarter-finals was booked by Edinburgh‘s victory over Montpellier on Friday.

The other Pool Three fixture saw Cardiff Blues claim their second victory of the tournament, downing winless Lyon 33-14.

Aled Summerhill scored a first-half brace for the Welsh side after a penalty try had been awarded to their visitors early on. Although Lyon hit back through Xavier Mignot to lead 14-12 at the break, the second-half saw tries from Owen Lane, Tomos Williams and Lewis Jones seal a home victory.

The post Saracens seal home quarter-final, Cardiff down Lyon appeared first on Planet Rugby.


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